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Tony Banks - Bankstatement CD (album) cover


Tony Banks


Crossover Prog

2.77 | 83 ratings

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Moogtron III
Prog Reviewer
3 stars In 1989, Tony Banks' colleague from Genesis, Mike Rutherford, was enjoying commercial success with his band outside Genesis, Mike & The Mechanics. Since Phil Collins also had enormous success as a solo artist, Tony now was the only artist within Genesis who didn't find himself a steady audience outside of the band.

Therefore it's no wonder that Tony tried to go the same road as Mike: forming a band with different singers, and make an album under a group banner: here on ProgArchives this album is filed under "Tony Banks", but originally it was released under the group name "Bankstatement".

Here we encounter a bit of a tragic story within Tony's life: time and time again he tried to make solo albums which would give him commercial success, but in this respect the record fails on two levels: not only does he not get the attention that he wants, but also he estranges his progressive core audience from himself.

After this lengthy introduction it may be obvious that this album is not a prog album. Indeed, it isn't. There are, on some songs, only hints of prog, nothing more. This may also the least rock oriented Banks album. This is very much a keyboard oriented album, but quite different from A Curious Feeling. The (simple) rhythms give the album very much a pop sound. Very 1980's hard and hollow sounding rhythms sometimes. The record company wanted Tony to have an outside producer, which is logical if you listen to Tony's first two solo albums, which sound a bit underproduced. For this job Tony asked Steve Hillage, who also plays guitar on the album. Although Steve still had a hippie image in those days, he did exactly what the record company and Tony wanted him to do: help to make it a modern commercial album. Don't buy this album because you are interested in Steve's guitar: there isn't much to enjoy on this album in that respect.

After five paragraphs of critical notes I may surprise you to tell you this is actually not a bad album. Well, if you are looking for prog on it, you will be very disappointed. But if you look at the record as a melodious 1980's pop album, it is actually quite good. The production still isn't very good (the next album "Still" would be better in that respect), but the songs are quite good. On this album Banks shows, to begin with, that he is an excellent song smith in a traditional way.

Yes, I said "traditional". "Throwback" and "Raincloud" are completely traditional sing songs, but very well written. Melodious songs with a head, a middle part and a tail. They are well sung also, by the way, by Alistair Gordon, who does a decent job on the album. Alistair's voice sounds much like Genesis' Ray Wilson, by the way.

But there is more than just traditional songs. "I'll Be Waiting" and "The More It Shows", also sung by Gordon, show that Banks knows how to make soulful songs where keyboards add a lot of atmosphere. The best piece on the album, "That Night", is also like that, though with the added vocals of female singer Jayney Klimek. Here Tony shines, and his keyboards give some sort of wall of sound which sounds quite compelling. It's too bad that Tony didn't have charisma as a solo artist, because on the strength of his compositions he might easily have found himself a bigger audience.

"Big Man" is also good. Tony' sings on it, in a style which is almost completely sounding like the songs of The Fugitive. It also shows that Tony can write intelligent lyrics: the song is about someone who comes in a position of power, maybe because he's elected as a politician because of his rhetorics or good looks, but misses in any way the abilities to handle his power in a good way. Especially memorable is the line: "I got a red light warning, I don't know why. Maybe it will go away if I close my eyes".

"Diamonds Aren't So Hard To Find" is a nice glorious feel good track. Even when, in terms of composition, the chorus and the verse aren't seamlessly fitting together, but the song is so catchy that it doesn't really bother.

"Thursday The Twelfth" is an instrumental with some nice, roaming, keyboard waves.

There are three songs on the album which don't work out well. "Queen Of Darkness" is a remake of an instrumental track on the Soundtracks album, this time with Jayney Klimek singing. The original version is much better, though, and Jayney sounds a bit nagging on the Bankstatement version which doesn't add to the original atmosphere of the song. "The Border" and "A House Needs A Roof" are like fillers in my ears. The other eight are quite good, though.

Moogtron III | 3/5 |


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